Extracts of leaves from Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni have been used for many years in traditional treatment of diabetes in South America. Paraguay's rural and indigenous populations have used Stevia rebaudiana for the control of fertility.
Stevia rebaudiana standardized extracts are used as natural sweeteners or dietary supplements in different countries for their content of stevioside or rebaudioside A. These compounds possess up to 250 times the sweetness intensity of sucrose, and do not have any calories. Stevioside, a natural plant glycoside isolated from the plant Stevia rebaudiana, has been commercialized as a non-caloric sweetener in Japan for more than 20 years.
Stevia and its extracts are not generally recognized as safe (GRAS) nor approved as food additives by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Stevia may be imported only if "explicitly labeled as a dietary supplement or for use as a dietary ingredient in a dietary supplement." Although stevia may be marketed as a dietary supplement or an ingredient of a dietary supplement under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA), products that are labeled as using stevia plant parts or extracts as flavoring agents, sweeteners, or for other food additive purposes are deemed as "unsafe" because "available toxicological information on stevia is inadequate to demonstrate its safety," according to the FDA
. Regulatory agencies in Canada and Europe also have not approved use of stevia as a food additive.
Alpha-monoglucosylstevioside, alpha-monoglucosylrebaudioside A, Asteraceae, azucacaa, candyleaf, capim doce, Compositae, dihydroisosteviol (DHISV), dihydropsuedoivalin, dihydrosteviol A, ent-kaurenoic acid, epidihydropseudoivalin, erva doce, glucosilsteviol, isosteviol, ka'a he'e, kaa he-he, kaa jhee, NPI-028, octa-acetylombuoside, ombuine, ombuoside, Paraguayan sweet herb, rebaudioside A (RA), rebaudioside F, retusine, roninowa, ronion, sacharol, SE, Stevia connata, Stevia eupatoria, stevia glycosides, Stevia lita, Stevia pilosa, Stevia rebaudiana (SR), Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni (SrB), Stevia rebaudiana standardized extracts (SSEs), Stevia salicifolia, Stevia subpubescens, Stevia tomentosa, Stevia triflora DC, Stevia viscida, steviol (SV), steviolbioside, stevioside (SVS), stevisalioside A, Stevita, sweet serb, sweetleaf, yerba dulce.
Note: Do not confuse Stevia rebaudiana with Stevia salicifolia, also called ronion or roninowa. Stevia salicifolia contains the bitter glycoside stevisalioside.
These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
Stevia has been widely used for diabetes in South America and animal studies have had promising results. Studies report decreases in plasma glucose when stevia was taken in normal volunteers, but there is currently no conclusive evidence of effectiveness when used for diabetes. Additional study is needed in this area to confirm these findings.
Hypertension (high blood pressure)
Stevioside is a natural plant glycoside isolated from the plant